One of the most unique experiences of studying abroad is the combination of traveling and schoolwork–you can experience your history classes firsthand. I recently had a presentation on the history of different churches in Buenos Aires, and my research consisted of a day of seeing some of the most beautiful churches in the city.
The first stop on my list: Catedral Metropolitana. This cathedral is the principal cathedral of Argentina for the catholic church. Located in the famous Plaza de Mayo, it sits right across from the Casa Rosada (the Argentinian white house) and the central church of Buenos Aires has occupied this spot since 1580. This church also houses the mausoleum of General San Martín, the hero of the independence of Argentina, Chile and Peru.
Next was San José de Flores, which was the church that inspired Pope Francis to join priesthood. The pride the people of this neighborhood feel for Pope Francis is obvious, with beautiful paintings of him and a plaque above the confession box where Jorge Bergoglio (Pope Francis) realized his calling.
Right in our home neighborhood of Belgrano is Parroquia San Benito, a gigantic church that dates back to the beginning of the twentieth century and takes up space of several different land purchases. When I visited with a friend, we enjoyed looking around in the church’s store which sold everything from San Benito wine to San Benito alfajores (delicious cookie-like pastry).
Outside of Buenos Aires, in the city of Luján, sits another church intertwined in the history of colonial Spanish-America. This is the Basilica of Our Lady of Luján. In order to access their colonies in western South America, the Spanish used the River Panará and journeyed through Argentina with their cargo. After a pit-stop in Luján, the Spanish realized that their horses wouldn’t go any further carrying a statue of the virgin Mary. In commemoration of this miracle, they built a great Basilica in the town. Every year, many people make the pilgrimage by foot to the church from Buenos Aires, which is about an hour away by bus. With ISA we visited this church and got to witness mass in this impressive building.
Bonus Church: Our Lady of Candelaria in Punta Del Este, Uruguay
The intensive month students in Buenos Aires have a week off school before the semester starts, and while most scampered off to Patagonia, a few of us chose a destination a little closer but still got a stamp in our passports: Uruguay. While in Punta Del Este, we discovered a little church that may not have the grandeur of some of the others on this list, but is none the less adorable. Baby blue with a rather simple interior, this church is the youngest on this list with the current structure dating from the 1950’s.
The world awaits…discover it.